New Delhi, Jan.23 : Chinese archaeologists have reportedly found an almost complete human skull fossil, possibly dating back to 100,000 years.
The skull was found in China's Henan province, and Chinese archaeologists hope the discovery will will shed light on a critical period of human evolution.
Shan Jixiang, the director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, said the Henan find was made after two years of excavation at the site in Xuchang. Archaeologists have worked on an area of 260 square metres, merely one-hundredth of the Paleolithic site.
The fossil consists of 16 pieces of the skull with protruding eyebrows and a small forehead. More astonishing than the completeness of the skull is that it still has a fossilized membrane on the inner side, so scientists can track the nerves of the Paleolithic ancestors.
The pieces were fossilized because they were buried five metres near the mouth of a spring, whose water had a high content of calcium.
Besides the skull, more than 30,000 animal fossils, and stone and bone artifacts were found in the small area in the past two years. The pieces of the human skull showed up just when archaeologists were going home for the Spring Festival.
The Paleolithic site was discovered in 1965, when IVPP scientists found animal fossils and stone artifacts from soil dug for a well. Excavation started in June 2005.
Earlier, human skull fossils discovered in the country were: Five of the Peking Man in Beijing (dating back 200,000 to 700,000 years), Three of the Upper Cave Man, also in Beijing (about 18,000 years) and the Jinniushan Man in Liaoning (150,000 years).